Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Park Birds

On Monday afternoon I visited 2 parks within town . Firstly a stop-off at Gabriel Dumont Park, where a Townsend's Solitiare was feeding on Juniper Berries right near the entrance.
This is now the 10th Townsend's Solitaire I have seen since November in town, and up until then, as some of you may know, I'd never seen one before! So this species is becoming abit of a habit this Winter.
Other than the Solitaire , the place was pretty much deserted with only 2 Black-capped Chickadees , and some fly-overs by Bohemian Waxwings.

I then went to Holiday Park, which isn't too far away, just a hop,skip and a jump across the river. There I was rewarded with a flash of colour from the still-present female Cardinal in the yard of the Bowerman House.

Other birds seen at the park :

White-breasted Nuthatch - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 8
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 2
Dark-eyed Junco - 1 ( this bird could be one of the 2 seen over
Christmas )
Red-shafted Northern Flicker - 1
Common Redpoll - 15
House Finch - 5
Downy Woodpecker - 4
Hairy Woodpecker - 2
White-winged Crossbill - 9
House Sparrow - 7
Common Raven - 1
Black-billed Magpie - 2
Bohemian Waxwing - 35

On the way home there were several Rock Doves perched atop buildings along Broadway Avenue and the last bird I saw before I got indoors was my first Merlin of 2008 atop a spruce tree on 7th St.

On Saturday, my wife and I went to Pike Lake where we saw the usual suspects, plus 4 Pine Grosbeaks, a few Redpolls , 2 Red Squirrels and then a Great Horned Owl on a powerpole on the way home along the highway.

Here are some new photos ( click to enlarge )

Red Squirrel at Pike Lake

Common Redpoll at Pike Lake

Great Horned Owl on the Pike Lake Highway

Townsend's Solitaire at Gabriel Dumont park

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Local rarities still here !

Taking place throughout America and Canada,over this long weekend is the Great Backyard Birdcount, where feederwatchers, casual observers and nature enthusiasts tally up every last bird they see in their yard , out on their travels or on field trips . This data is then used to determine bird population declines or increases , migration and other habits.
On Friday my friend and I decided to try and cram as much birding as we could from 8am till 2pm and try to bump up the numbers for Saskatoon, and the province as a whole.
We managed a respectable 23 species and were happy to find the Northern Hawk Owl still at Aberdeen, 2 Saskatoon rarities, the Townsend's Solitaire at Lakeview Park and the Northern Cardinal still visiting the yard of the Bowerman House downtown.
Other highlights were Pine Grosbeaks and Sharp-tailed Grouse at Pike Lake and a Bald Eagle perched over the river within the city.

I manged to get a couple of photos despite the pretty poor weather in the morning :

Sharp-tailed Grouse

Northern Cardinal

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Three Owls & A Porcupine

Yesterday lunchtime I travelled once more to Aberdeen to show a friend where to find the two Snowy Owls that were not too far from the townsite.
The weather was a balmy - 26ยบ . So no change there then !
Of course, seeing as the Northern Hawk Owl is still sitting pretty right within the town, I had to have another look at this beautiful bird and take yet more photos of her.
Also in the townsite was a single Common Raven , 15 House Sparrows, at least 50 Bohemian Waxwings , and a single Cedar Waxwing . I did not find the 2 Robins that I'd found there on a previous visit.
We ended up only finding one Snowy Owl , but as we were leaving, I spotted a very pale Great-horned Owl perched in some bushes by the side of the road. It didn't like us looking at it and flew off as soon as we stopped the car.
So, happy with our three-Owl day we then ventured back to Saskatoon where we tried for the Northern Cardinal ( no luck there ), but did see 12 Chickadees , 5 White-winged Crossbills , 3 House Finch , 3 White-breasted Nuthatch , 1 Red-shafted Flicker and a Downy Woodpecker . We then stopped by Victoria Park, where across the other side of the river we could see a lone Perched Bald Eagle looking down on a slither of open water .
To end the trip we walked along part of the river where a surprise highlight for me was a very well fed Porcupine literally out on a limb eating twigs about 25ft up in the air.

Here are some photos :

Bohemian Waxwing

Northern Hawk Owl

Snowy Owl

Black-capped Chickadee

Common Porcupine